LORAIN — Aliceison Brown was out and about with her boyfriend Wednesday when he checked his cell phone and noticed something on the security camera feeds trained on her house.
“He showed me the phone and said ‘There’s fire, too’ and at that point I was just watching my house go up in flames,” she said. “I rushed home as fast as I could, but I was in Elyria to pick up a friend.”
Brown said her home at 3736 Dallas Ave. was engulfed when she arrived shortly before 5 p.m. on the Fourth of July.
“It was like looking at an action movie,” she said. “It didn’t seem real but it was beautiful in a morbid sort of way. I called my baby sister to tell her about it, and she thought I was joking. It was my childhood home, too, so it was really like losing my entire childhood.”
Lorain Fire Department officials have said the house is a complete loss and essentially had to be demolished in order to fight the blaze, meaning a cause might never be determined.
Brown said she has no idea what would have caused the fire because she wasn’t home, but she also wasn’t trying to cook before she left the house.
“I mean, the grill was almost completely intact,” she said. “The propane tank, everything, was all still together.”
Brown said since the fire she has been staying with a friend and while it’s been hard and she’s “doing as well as she can,” each day “gets a little bit better than yesterday.”
“There’s been a lot of support from my neighbors and people like that,” she said. “But I’m going to be hearing ‘I’m sorry’ for the rest of my life.”
Some of that support is coming from a close friend, Jalissa Brown, who isn’t related to Aliceison Brown, who started a GoFundMe page called “Dallas Ave Housefire” with a fundraising goal of $6,000.
“I honestly knew I had to help them someway, somehow,” Jalissa Brown said.” I don’t have much to give, but Aliceison and her little sister Samantha are two of my best friends. I knew if I could set something up to reach out to the community maybe I could get them help. I’ve had several people contact me to donate clothing and different household items, which makes me super happy.”
Jalissa Brown said she and Aliceison have known each other since middle school and the family is one of the kindest she has ever met.
“They always extended their arms to help people even if it was a simple as giving someone a car ride,” she said. “They’re courteous. They’re the kind of people you spark a random conversation while waiting in line for something and it’s never a dull conversation.”
Aliceison Brown said Jalissa’s support means a lot to her and makes her feel loved.
“We’ve been through a lot of stuff together, and I’ve been able to support her so it comes back 10-fold,” she said.
“To have people come together and show compassion right now is just great.”
Aliceison Brown did express concerns about the lack of hydrant pressure on Dallas Avenue, something Lorain fire officials said contributed to the slow start to fighting the fire in addition to the heat index.
Lorain Utilities Director Paul Wilson said a study completed in 2016 showed “Dallas Avenue and its surrounding area, had marginal water pressure due to the size and age of the existing mains, the elevation of the area and the makeup of the city’s system.”
“The report recommended a project to fix the problem and the city currently has the project under detailed design,” he said.
“The project is scheduled to go into construction in the fall of 2019.”